UMass Theater presents Dance Nation, a play about dance, ambition, and growing up

Dance Nation 
by Clare Barron
Directed by Dawn Monique Williams ’11G
Nov. 12, 13, 18, 19 at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. 

The Rand Theater, Bromery Center for the Arts (formerly the Fine Arts Center), UMass

Tickets sold through the Fine Arts Center Box Office and  at the door.
Prices: $15 general admission, $5 youth, students, and seniors  

Being thirteen feels like being between two worlds: playing with toys on the one hand, and burning up in the heat of a first crush on the other. In Clare Barron’s Dance Nation, competitive dance becomes a backdrop and a metaphor for the internal complexities and contradictions of young teenager-hood.

“What I love about the play is its honesty; it exposes the complexity and vulnerability of girlhood. The humor is an added bonus,” said Dawn Monique Williams ’11G, who is Associate Artistic Director of Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley, CA, and whom we are thrilled to welcome back to campus to direct this production. 

The story centers on a dance troupe, their coach, and their parents, as they gear up to present their newest number. The dancers, an ensemble of different races, ethnicities, body types, and gender presentations, navigate conflict, negotiate the demands of their own ambitions and confront the challenges of growing up.

“It’s shockingly and darkly funny, touching and vulnerable, and so lovely,” said production dramaturg Bianca Dillard, a student in our MFA program. 

Meanwhile, the casting adds a layer of meaning, as none of the actors playing the dancers are actually 13, but are all in fact well past pubescence.

“The actors’ older bodies are haunting these thirteen-year-old characters,” Dillard said — and vice versa — making this a sort of ghost play, in Barron’s terms.

The result is a play that, like its subjects, is by turns compelling, hilarious, ferocious, and touching — and a must-see event.
This is a dance party you won’t want to miss.

Get your tickets today!

Content Advisory: Gore, coarse language, depictions of self-harm, simulated masturbation and descriptions of masturbation, sex and sexual violence

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